Sunday, February 5, 2017

Leiper Smedley Crum Creek Trails Loop 2-5-17

Today it was slightly warmer than yesterday and there was more clouds than sun. I could feel sweat today. Yesterday it was too cold for that.

I started today at Smedley Park at the Leiper Smedley trail head. I still wasn't in an out and back mood. Honestly I rarely am. Unless my time is limited I much prefer to do loop walks or hikes. It was easy to make today's walk a loop by picking up the Crum Creek Trail for the return to Smedley Park. Click here for a Crum Creek Trail map. Page two of the pdf is the trail map. The red line shows part of the Lieper Smedley Trail. My start was off the map to the left. The yellow line is the Crum Creek Trail.

The LP part of the hike is easy to follow. It's paved all the way from Baltimore Pike to Avondale road. The CC part was more challenging since it is not blazed. I've tried the CC trail before from the Plush Mill road end and got lost shortly after the trolley tracks. I ended up on side trail and onto the Swarthmore College Campus. The entrance of the trail from Avondale road is not all that clear although I could see efforts being made to make it more clear. Trees have been planted along both sides of what should be the trail. Once you get past the apartment building on Yale Avenue it becomes more obvious on its own.

The loop is an interesting contrast of urban hiking. The LP trail follows the Blue Route and the CC trail the creek. You can hear traffic the whole way. I saw few running groups and two dog walkers along the way. These photos show the to sides of this loop.

The most annoying part of the loop is walking back up the hill on Plush Mill Road after leaving the CC trail to get back to LP to get back to the car. However, despite having no blazes anywhere between Yale Ave and Plush Mill Road there were two sets of blazes on Plush Mill road that seemed to indicate the trail continues on the other side of Plush Mill. I'm guessing it continues along the creek then under Baltimore Pike into Smedley Park. That'd be awesome if it does. I'll have to check that out another time.

Judging by time I estimate this loop was about 5 maybe 5.5 miles.

Keep Smiling and Keep Moving

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Valley Forge National Historical Park 2-4-17

First there is Plan A, then B and C and then there is what you actually do.

Plan A was a section hike on the Horseshoe Trail - approximately 7 miles from Valley Forge to the Great Valley Nature Center. I posted the hike on Facebook on Thursday. There were a few nibbles but by 7 am on this morning I knew I was going to hike solo today. No worries. I don't mind that but without nearby public transportation or until someone perfects beaming technology (yes I do believe they are working on it) it's impossible to do a one way hike with just yourself.

As I drove to Knox Headquarter parking lot at Valley Forge I halfheartedly thought about Plan B. To go out on the Horseshoe Trail for about an hour then turn around and go back. But I really wasn't in the mood for out an back today. Plan B lasted only a few minutes in my head.

By the time I arrived at the parking lot, Plan C had taken a strong hold. I'd wander around Mount Misery and Joy. I've done a loop there many times and would take advantage of the side trails both have to offer along the way.

Shortly after 8 am I headed up the path to the Mount Joy trail but instead of going on the trail I continued to climb in search of the site of the old observation tower. I wandered up and down "Pete White" trails between the top and the "official" Mount Joy trail finally settling on wandering around the top and down the other side. I ended up at Redoubt 3. Now I was heading away from Mount Misery in the general direction of the Visitor's Center. I did not want to retrace my steps. (Remember the plan B fade away). I also couldn't spend much time on pavement because my hiking shoes are unforgiving there. So this is where Plan C officially fell apart.

I took advantage of the horse trails and made my way cross country toward the Chapel. This was not a straight line by any means. I didn't have my Garmin. The battery won't hold a charge and I really don't care much about pace or distance anymore. However, it would have been interesting to see the path I drew with my feet today.

Once at the Chapel I picked up the Chapel Trail along the railroad and river and made my way back toward Washington's Headquarters. From there I crossed 23 and took the Valley Creek Trail back to my car. All told I was out for just shy of 3 hours. I think one could easily make a day of it at Valley Forge without hitting too much pavement. That may be a challenge for another day. :)